Tens of thousands of people, mostly Tamils, have been protesting in Western capitals demanding an immediate ceasefire in north-eastern Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan military says it has captured the entire Tamil Tiger-held territory in the north and pushed the rebels into a government-designated safe zone set up to protect civilians in the north-east.
The defence ministry says security forces have surrounded the no-fire zone on all three sides and troops are now poised to enter the area to rescue the civilians.
There has been no immediate reaction from the rebels to the government's announcement on temporary halt to the fighting.
The United Nations has warned that if the army enters the safe zone in pursuit of the rebels, there could be bloodbath on the beaches of north-eastern Sri Lanka.
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